Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Health): Statements
Alan Kelly (Tipperary, Labour)
With respect, my question did not focus on what happened in here. Rather, I am worried about the people in my local shop. How are they meant to carry out a risk assessment? It would mean having a many more employees and would make the business unviable.
I will ask the Minister the question again because he did not answer it. Why was this public health information not socialised - put out there - across the country previously? Why did it appear all of a sudden this week? Deputy Harris is the Minister for Health. Tell everyone in this country who owns a shop, including pharmacists, how they are meant to operate in these conditions. They will have to get assessments done. For many, how they will do that is questionable. Who is professional enough to do it? It is not viable. How are shops, other retail outlets and the people who produce our food, including meat factories, meant to operate under these guidelines? I do not buy the idea that every area is different. Rooms have a certain square footage and we are expecting people working on checkouts to spend six or eight hours together in the same environment.
Either this advice on risk was known and not mentioned or it is new. The Minister found out about it last week. The whole country is depending on what he will say. We need to know why this was not socialised. Is it new advice? If it already existed and people were not informed, then a risk of which they were not informed was created.